Of the CLEP prep book options, the ones I always pick up at a thrift store or yard sale are the REA CLEP Guides. REA CLEP Guides are special because they include practice tests that most of us consider “as hard as or harder than” the real CLEP exam.
You can get REA Guides brand new- they sell them at your favorite bookstore or online at REA.com They run about $35 new.
The new guides may include an online access code or CD, but I think most seasoned CLEP-testers will tell you that used REA Guides will do the trick. At one point in time, I had REA Guides for more than 20 CLEP exams on my bookshelf. REA Guides sell used anywhere from $7 – $20.
TIP: if you buy or sell an REA Guide, please don’t write on the practice test! The next user will thank you.
Homeschooling for College Credit has a HS4CC Member’s Marketplace where you can buy / sell / trade your college credit supplies, and you’ll find REA Guides often enough that it should be your first stop! At the time of preparing this post, I see used REA Guides for:
- CLEP American Government
- CLEP US History 1
- CLEP General Exams
- CLEP Sociology
Besides Amazon.com, you can often get amazing deals on used REA Guides at AbeBooks. What I like about AbeBooks is that they will also buy back your books (some restrictions apply) and award store credit or cash towards a future purchase. It’s a bit like an online consignment shop. Doing a quick search, I found these REA CLEP Guides for 5 bucks or less, and most offering free shipping.
When using any CLEP study guide, remember these 5 tips:
- A study guide is a condensed “what you need to know” tool. It’s not meant to replace the curriculum.
- Practice tests are not the “actual” test questions. They represent the type of questions you can expect.
- Practice tests are only valid and reliable the first time you use them. Taking the same exact test a second time isn’t a good predictor of how you’ll score on the exam since you’ve already seen the questions.
- Take no less than 2 practice tests before attempting a CLEP exam. If it’s a “big” exam covering 2 semesters (Chemistry, Biology, Natural Sciences, French, German, or Spanish) I recommend no less than 3 practice tests. The test pool of possible questions is simply too large to trust the results of just 2 practice tests.
- Credit by exam success is more likely with a solid foundation. Learn first, test last.